The Department of Agriculture has opened a TB testing investment scheme for vets.

The scheme will support equipment upgrades aimed at reducing human error, speeding up data sharing and ensuring testing procedures are in line with future TB policies.

The Veterinary Practice Capital Modernisation Scheme will grant aid handheld devices, such as EID tag readers, and bundles of new testing equipment at a rate of 50%.

A payment cap of €2,250/vet and €500/vet has been set on these respective areas of investment.

Practices will also be eligible to claim back half the cost of IT upgrades up to a maximum of €1,750/practice, with new laptops eligible for payments.

Testing syringes

Items eligible for inclusion under the new testing equipment category include clippers or scissors, callipers, a toolbox, a tool belt and testing syringes.

A vet operating a standalone practice as a sole trader could stand to gain €4,500 in grant aid under the equipment upgrade scheme, while larger practices with multiple vets TB testing stand to draw down larger payments.

Any vets applying must be registered with the Veterinary Council of Ireland.

The scheme will remain open to applications until 29 April, but the Department will give successful applicants up to 20 December 2025 to claim back purchases made through the scheme.

The move to subsidise vet equipment purchases comes as vet fees accounted for €13.3m of the Department’s spend on TB eradication in 2023 – a figure which equates to 18% of the total Exchequer spend on the disease.

Eradication goal

The Department stated that the work of veterinary practitioners is integral to achieving TB eradication.

“It is therefore imperative that all avenues are explored to bring as many efficiencies as possible to operations by veterinary practitioners and practices to help achieve these results,” it said. The budget for the scheme is unknown.